Monday, February 17, 2014

Daily Matinee: “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and Cinerama

1963 United Artists Records advertisement for the
soundtrack of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World-
as featured in Billboard Magazine. 
This post is in relation to the recent passing of Sid Caesar (1922-2014). It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a hilarious comedy masterpiece, featuring Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Edie Adams, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Dorothy Provine, and many more. This Stanley Kramer feature was filmed in a familiar widescreen format, but with one minor specification.

The original Cinerama widescreen process consisted of three images that were filmed simultaneously, and would be later projected (through three simultaneous film projectors) on a curved screen. Because the original process was expensive for major studios and producers, Kramer’s film (released through United Artists) would be the first single-lens Cinerama feature. It was filmed in 65mm Super Panavision, and then was converted for the single-lens Cinerama format. Thus, the familiar three-projector setup would be phased out by existing Cinerama theater venues for the new single-lens projection system.

Whether moviegoers saw the film in Super Panavision or the single-lens Cinerama process, the film made $46.3 million in ticket sales (which offset the production's budgetary concerns). The film was re-released to theaters in 1970. If you've never seen this fantastic cult comedy before, see it when you get the chance to.

From a 1963 issue of
International Projectionist.
THE CRITERION EDITION: The Criterion Collection has released It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on a dual-format Blu-Ray/DVD disc (from a new High-Definition transfer) with Ernest Gold’s score in DTS 5.1 surround sound. Not only does this set include the general release version, it also includes the 197-minute extended version restored by Robert A. Harris (scanned in 4K, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.76:1). There are also many bonus features, including trailers, radio and TV spots for the film (with a new introduction from legendary voice-over actor Stan Freberg, who did various TV/radio spots for the feature film), a 1974 ABC retrospective on the film with Stanley Kramer, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, and Buddy Hackett; Jack Davis’ iconic artwork, and much more.  This writer will definitely have to check it out sometime.

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The proprietor of "At The Matinee", Chris Hamby- welcomes your comments and suggestions on any post featured. NOTE: All comments are monitored by the author.